Don’t You Know Who I Am?

This post goes out to my pals Karin, Diana, and Kathie, who love fiercely, strive to know others deeply, and understand that believing someone without question is one of the greatest gifts you can give another person.

Each of us has at least one thing that triggers us—one thing that presses a button that unleashes hurt or anger. We may spend the better part of our lives working on ourselves, conquering our issues. Just when we think we’re succeeding, the universe has a funny way of sending the most bizarre event our way—to test us, it seems. It’s as if we’re being drilled to become nonreactive no matter how that trigger appears in our life.

When that button gets pushed in me, it triggers the reaction “don’t you know who I am?” I don’t mean that question in an arrogant way, as a privileged or entitled person might when they haven’t received something they think they deserve. No, for me that question springs from sadness and hurt, not indignation. It’s more along the lines of

Don’t you know me yet?

Haven’t you been paying attention to who I am at my core?

How could you underestimate me like that?

How could you think so little of me?

Why don’t you believe me?

It doesn’t matter if the person doubting me is not someone I know well. A trigger is a trigger, after all. But when I do have a relationship with the person, it is even more painful.

It’s human nature to want to be understood. How many times have we heard someone say “she gets me” and seen the satisfaction that knowledge brings. Being understood feels like affirmation of everything you’ve worked for in your life. But when someone disregards your history—how you’ve lived your life—and chooses to believe something untrue or inconsistent with who you are, it can feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you. You haven’t changed—you’re still the same person you were. Or are you? In a weird “if a tree falls in the woods” kind of way, you start to wonder “can I still be that person if someone doesn’t recognize that I’m that person?” Overthinking much? Always!

A little distance and a bit of time, however, go a long way in healing the hurt. You come to understand that the other’s faulty perception of you says a hell of a lot more about them than it does about you. Your confidence builds again. You remember who you are, even if others don’t. And you realize that the only person who has to be okay with you…is you.

Can you relate? Is there something that’s been pressing your buttons that you need to release? I’ve decided it’s National Trigger Day. Release away! 

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